Langrock’s Repertoire against the French Tarrasch

3/12/2009 – For the moment Sergei Tiviakov is on a roll – he is gaining Elo points all over the place (Moscow op, Pfalz op, Bundesliga) and in the Live Top List he is already over 2700 as well as being in 26th place. His last game before the European championships, against Feygin (for Eppingen in the Bundesliga), caught our interest particularly because what was up for discussion was a Tarrasch French with 3.Nd2 Be7 – exactly the variation which Hannes Langrock has been putting under the microscope from Black’s point of view in, so far, three articles (CBM 126, 127 and 128). Tiviakov chose the line with 4.c3, the final one to be investigated by Langrock in CBM 129, which is in preparation even as we speak. Could the reigning European champion demonstrate some advantage for White? A sneak preview of CBM 129.

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To anticipate – the innovation in the aforementioned game was played by Feygin as early as move 7, and was a strategic no-no. Tiviakov got an immediate advantage, which he never relinquished. A pity for us, since the critical variations were never put to the test.
Now, the game: Tiviakov,S - Feygin,M 1-0
The move 4.c3 comes in only fourth in the popularity stakes, with 4.Ngf3, 4.Bd3 and 4.e5 being played more frequently. That does not have to mean much, because, after all, Ivanchuk and, as here, Tiviakov have played it. Here is the short excerpt from Langrock’s article in CBM 129, which deals with 4...c5 5.dxc5 Bxc5 6.Bd3, the lion’s share of the space being taken up with 6.exd5:
Here you can have a look at the short descriptions from the magazines which provide some insight into the three previous contributions:

A repertoire for Black for the French 3.Nd2 Be7

by Hannes Langrock

Part 4: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Be7 4.c3 c5

At the end of October 2008 in the rapid tournament in Cap d'Agde Ivanchuk tried out 5.dxc5 Bxc5 6.Bd3!? against Caruana:

I find it astonishing that up until now White has played this relatively infrequently, because the line is extremely venomous, especially for someone who does not know it. The ambitious idea behind  6.Bd3 is to maintain the tension in the centre. For that reason the move played after 6...Nf6 is 7.Qe2 and only then Ngf3, etc. Should Black at any moment exchange on e4, Then White hopes to keep up a long-lasting initiative because of his more active pieces.

In the said Ivanchuk game there followed 6...Nf6 7.Qe2 dxe4 8.Nxe4 Nxe4 9.Bxe4 Nd7 10.Nf3 0-0 11.0-0 h6. Even if Caruana finally managed to equalise thanks to a pawn sacrifice which was very hard to refute over the board  (12.Bf4 e5!?), the position after 10.Nf3 looks for Black like a pretty unfavourable Rubinstein French.

Instead of taking on e4 7...Nc6 is more frequently seen. After 8.Ngf3 Black should possibly refrain from the obvious looking 8...0-0, because after 9.0-0 we are, surprisingly, in a position from the Colle-System - moreover one in which White possess a not unimportant extra tempo! It is my recommendation to hold off with kingside castling and to first develop the queenside with  8...Qc7! 9.0-0 Bd7

Now 10.e5!? Ng4 11.Nb3 Bb6 leads to unclear play, along the lines of 12.Bf4 f6 (B.Kutuzovic-T.Wiley, Bled 2000). In praxis White has somewhat more frequently decided to put off e4-e5 till he has first prevented the possibility of ...Ng4 by 10.h3. But this is the moment when Black can favourably take on e4: 10...dxe4! 11.Nxe4 Be7 with equality. In our game featuring 5.dxc5 Bxc5 6.Bd3!?, Darbanvaighani,M - Ravi,L ½-½ after 12.Re1 Nd5! (xf4) it was clear that Black had no problems.

Here you can have a look at the short descriptions from the magazines which provide some insight into the three previous contributions:

Part 1 in CBM 126
Part 2 in CBM 127
Part 3 in CBM 128



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